I was in St. Louis just five days after the St. Louis Blues won the 2019 Stanley Cup Championship. Driving around, there were signs posted everywhere congratulating the team, signs of encouragement and an overall feeling of great pride. People couldn't stop talking about it. They brought it up in conversation even if you didn’t. I said how I thought it was a shame they weren’t playing at home when they won, and the responses went something like this: It was an awesome experience. We went to one of the viewing parties downtown and there’s never been a feeling like it. The crowd was amazing! It was almost better that they weren’t home.
If there’s ever a hockey town that could use a big win, it’s St. Louis. In case you didn’t know, the St. Louis Blues had never won a Stanley Cup championship in their 52-year history as a franchise.
To add insult to injury, St. Louis lost their 20-year NFL franchise in 2016, when the St. Louis Rams defected to Los Angeles . . . for the 2nd time. The Rams’ home, “The Dome” in downtown St. Louis now hosts concerts, conventions and some smaller sporting events, but the often-empty venue is a constant reminder of the loss.
Lots of towns have sports’ team disappointments, but this town really deserved a win. St. Louis is geographically located almost in the middle of the country and like the middle child they’re often taken a little for granted (sorry if you’re a middle child). They behave, they’re polite, they’re nice, they don’t boast or brag, nor do they act spoiled or petulant.
And in sports, they stay in the fight.
The Blues sat dead last in the NHL rankings after 30 games into the 2018-2019 season on January 2nd, 2019. And they went on to win the championship in June. That’s perseverance!
Their MLB team, the St. Louis Cardinals, on the other hand, is one of the most successful franchises in baseball history having won 11 World Series championships. Origins of the team date as far back as 1881 as the St. Louis Brown Stockings. Their last World Series championship was in 2011—not too long ago, but another win would be much appreciated. Their fans, however, will never give up on them.
If you’ve been to downtown St. Louis lately, though, it’s a bit of a ghost town by day and a little scary at night. So, what brings people into the city? A Cardinals game at Busch Stadium or a Blues game at the Enterprise Center.
And, the fact that the hockey finals brought tens of thousands of fans downtown to sold out watch parties at Busch Stadium and the Enterprise Center, and 50,000 more to watch on Market Street and 500,000 people downtown to the Championship Parade to celebrate—well, it warms my heart.
Sports isn’t the only thing to help revive a city, but for St. Louis it is absolutely something. Their sense of spirit and community rallied them. It was time for them to win one and they did.
I’m looking for the Cardinals in a World Series sometime soon too!